>> Karrah Teague, resident badass of Rochester, NY, is a locally famous tattoo artist out of Kamikaze Tattoo on Alexander. While she’s best known for her stellar ability to perfect minimalism and detailed line-work behind the needle, she is also a formative member of the self-proclaimed “post-whatever” garage-rock band FUZZROD. It’s clear that Teague bleeds creative talent, and simply stating her accolades in multidisciplinary artistic endeavors don’t seem to do her justice as the brilliant artist she is. Rochester is lucky to have her, and Floated’s Hillary Bosy was equally fortuitous to be able to sit down with the tattooer and pick her brain.
How did you get into tattooing?
Well, I was an art school dropout. I was back in Rochester waiting tables; I was 21. I was trying to find something to do artistically, as a career, that wasn’t graphic design. At that age I realized tattoos would be cool, tattoos would be fun. I happened upon someone who would take me into a shop and teach me. I had no idea what I had gotten myself into. The first few years were a total struggle; [I was] just trying to figure out what I was doing. I felt like it was the path I wanted to take. The first three to five years were just figuring out how to tattoo. Then I just tried to push things artistically. I left the country and ended up in Melbourne, Australia. I think when I got my job there is when people there were interested in the stuff I was interested in doing more than the people here. People were into black on grey and the stippling style.
When I started, it was all about traditional work. I loved the physicality of them; They’re not trying to reproduce other kinds of art. They’re just trying to be tattoos. Using the marks that the tattoo machine makes naturally is part of traditional tattooing. You can make really nice clean lines, you can do what’s called “Whip Shading” - only a tattoo machine can make that mark.
When I got back to the states, I started painting again. I started doing really abstract stuff which is very linebased. I began to (not on purpose) inform my tattoo work and doing abstract stuff with tattoo.
I’ve been tattooing for about ten years. I think from when I started to now, who tattoos are for has changed a lot. They’re not just for the badass or the biker. A lot more people want very small, meaningful tattoos. Lot’s of text-based stuff has become popular - handwriting and stuff like that...<<